30 October 2020

Anti-Semitism

Jeremy Corbyn

Britain's Labour Party is allegedly riddled with anti-semitism. The story has been rumbling on for ages. Yesterday, the former leader, Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from the Labour Party for simply suggesting that the claims have  been exaggerated.

I have followed the anti-semitism story for quite a while, reading newspaper articles about it and watching television news items. However, it has been almost impossible to determine the exact nature of the anti-semitic acts. What was done? What was said? Did they occur via social media?  How many of those tweets were actually from mischief-making Conservatives?

If you put say "Examples of anti-semitism in The Labour Party" into Google you will not be led to any examples - just to general articles about the anti-Semitism row. The examples - that is the evidence - are kept so well hidden that you wonder how much substance there is to the entire story. It is possible that I could be accused of anti-semitism just by harbouring such a thought!

Sometimes Judaism and the state of Israel are so conflated that any criticism of Israel may be interpreted as anti-Semitism. Interestingly, it is worth remembering that 21% of Israeli citizens are defined as Arabs who of course do not follow the Jewish religion.

I was christened under the authority of The Church of England and though I have been a conscious non-believer since the age of ten, The Church of England has always been a part of my culture and my being. I was married within The Church of England and both of my parents' funeral services were held in an English  parish church.

Yet, when I watched "Life of Brian" by the Monty Python team I laughed. And I laughed at "The Vicar of Dibley" and "Rev" and when I read books and essays that disputed the existence of God or lambasted The Church of England I did not feel affronted. It was perfectly fine. 

With Judaism it's apparently different.

To any Labour people who might stumble across this blogpost, I have some survival advice. Never speak about Israel. Never refer to the beleaguered Palestinian people and The Gaza Strip. Never mention synagogues or West Bank settlers. Never comment upon American support for the state of Israel. To use a Yiddish word, just keep schtum. It's easier that way.

I  leave the final words to Jeremy Corbyn: "Labour is an anti-racist party to its core and has a long and proud history of standing against racism, including anti-semitism. I have campaigned against racism all my life and the Jewish community has been at the heart of the Labour party and progressive politics in Britain for more than a hundred years...There is no place for anti-semitism or any form of racism in the Labour party, or anywhere in society, and we will make sure that our party is a welcoming home to members of all communities."

45 comments:

  1. Harold Wilson said that to lead the Labour Party you need to be tough on many people. Tough in ways the leader of the Conservative Party is not called on to be, though we should remember Ted Heath sacked Enoch Powell after Powell's notorious *rivers of blood* speech.

    Those who understand Jeremy Corbyn agree on one thing: He is not a racist and has not the slightest racist tendencies. But the report which Sir Keith Starmer endorses makes it clear that Jeremy was insensitive to toxic anti-Semitism in the Party, and that he under-estimated its extent among Trotskyite Labour activists.

    Former Labour MP Luciana Berger needed police protection two years ago when attending the Labour Party Conference. As well as physical threats Luciana faced a sustained campaign of discrimination and bullying. She left the Party along with seven other MPs. This caused hurt among many loyal Jewish Labour members.

    As Luciana said, we are on *a very long road* and there needs to be *structural change in the Labour Party and its processes* in order *to amend the culture within the Party.*

    We desperately need a Labour government. Last night I purchased Oliver Bullough's book *Money Land - Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How to Take it Back*.
    An award-winning journalist who writes for The Guardian and The New York Times, Mr. Bullough quotes the heroic anti-Mafia writer Roberto Saviano, who thinks Britain is the most financially corrupt country in the democratic world.

    Yes, we need a Labour government and Sir Keith Starmer will be Prime Minister.

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  2. You follow newspapers and watch television news. Talk to the Angel. He digs so deep at times my hair stands on end. You know, all the stuff that is so well hidden it never sees the light of day. It's shocking as to what the general public is being fed as opposed to what's really happening.

    Naturally, the likes of, say, Cro will delight in Corbyn being taken to the cleaners. I can't wait for his glee in tomorrow morning's offering. Not that I will comment since I promised to not utter another word on anything. Even tomatoes are off limit. Not that I mind being called an idiot.

    I have no answer to the Palestinian question. Israel. Despite the fact I have read a shit load on it (not in papers with an agenda but learned scholars). Mystified doesn't cover it.

    Whatever Corbyn's merits/failings are, the way he has been hounded is shameful.

    And, of course, now Keir Starmer finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place. A place anyone schooled in law (and small print) wouldn't ordinarily find themselves in unless they are, "side" line, also head of a political party.

    U

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    1. I don’t think you should presume to say who delights in what. Nor should you mention other bloggers behind their backs
      It’s not polite

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    2. You are beginning to test my patience, John. I am "banned" from your blog yet you "converse" with me on YP's. Which, as long as ok with YP, I welcome.

      Please do not tell me about being "polite" and not mentioning "other bloggers behind their backs". Leaving aside that Cro reads YP's blog, so there is no behind his back, you and some of your cronies did it all the time. One reliable source tells me that, at some point when all your egos were in turmoil, emails were flying all over the place (behind my back). You then proceeded not only calling me a troll, you made me into multiple persona behind other names and the anons of commentators. Despite the fact that you, John, knew it wasn't me. You stirred the shit. A fan had nothing on you. You called me an arsehole and worse, deleting even the most innocent comment of mine whilst giving your readers the impression that I am evil. So, please, do not talk to me about "polite". You are the most uncouth person (apart from your TS) I have ever encountered. Rude, rude, and then some. Rude may even be excused if offset by some wit, something to say. Nada. Zilch. To now backpaddle, and gently toot toot, is your style. YOU have the nerve to admonish ME? Me who has tried and tried and tried to make and keep the peace with you?

      I know you said recently that in the wake of your divorce from now on you'll assert yourself. No doubt born out of that anger you speak of (not least in one of your last posts). Take it from me, John, and I know you see anything coming from me as a lecture: The way you are going about "asserting" yourself is not the way to achieve a result. If you like I'll give you some pointers. Let me know. Yes, yes, yes, the last person you'd take advice from is yours truly.

      I have said it before I say it again: Whatever issues you had with your mother, and - as you said - I remind you of her, don't take it out on me. I AM NOT YOUR MOTHER. I AM NOT YOUR FATHER. I am someone who took an interest in you and your blog. And, mea culpa, someone who didn't know when to stop. Giving up on someone is NOT one of my strengths.

      As to behind backs: Do not worry have no fear. Unlike you I don't cheap rubbish people. I say it how it is. And, for your info, Cro and I have an understanding. For reasons of his own we have agreed that if I have anything to say to him I email him. And he emails back. So, John, so much for "behind their backs". My world is transparent. Yours ain't. Want to know who told me? Nah, a confidence is a confidence.

      As to Cro's political leanings and his occasional, if irrational, lashing outs, they are well known. To him, to anyone who visits his blog. What's the worst that can happen? He'll call you (make that me) an idiot. Loosen up, John.

      Who knows, big sigh, maybe our twain WILL meet one day, YP's blog allowing, and a big chip falling off your shoulder. I'll even help you carry it to be recycled. It's never too late to talk peace, John. And, for the umpteenth time, don't think people are after your hide.

      U

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    3. I don’t think you should mention other bloggers, or speak for them, that was my only point
      I have not read all of your reply

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    4. "TLDR" (too long, didn't read) will suffice next time. Don't put yourself out, John.

      U

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  3. Readers of your blog should watch YouTube:
    *Labour Party: Sir Keith Starmer's Road to Power - BBC Newsnight.*
    October 20, 2020.

    For context read a paperback book:
    *Hammer of the Left - Defeating Tony Benn, Eric Heffer and Militant in the Battle the Labour Party* by John Golding, with an introduction by Neil Kinnock.

    Denis Healey former Secretary of State for Defence and Chancellor of the Exchequer, who (truthfully) said the Bennites stopped Labour from being electable, would have taken the same decision as Keith Starmer did.

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  4. Can't believe I wrote *Keith* for Keir Starmer ! Mental slippage ! Sorry !

    My only excuse, I have been re-reading the old collected Daily Mirror columns of Keith Waterhouse.

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    1. Don't worry. Hamel(d). Earlier today I wrote a comment in which I refer to Bertrand Russell when I meant G B Shaw. The mind scrambles at times. Make mine an omelette.

      Since you mention Denis Healey for once I do what I don't like (name drop). I was introduced to Denis Healey and his wife, the divine Edna, in Venice, ca middle 1980s. We had lunch at the Locanda Cipriani, Torcello Island. Next stop Murano (glass). Fascinating. Even more fascinating that we lost Denis in the process. The jetty waited. Don't worry, Edna said to me, he does get, habitually, lost. She left out "on purpose". But then I am a mind reader. Anyway he "found" his way back, beaming and as happy as the mysterious Larry. Never have I been in closer contact with a magnificent pair of eyebrows.

      U

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    2. Charming story about the Healeys, and lunch at the Locanda Cipriani !
      Perhaps Denis was off taking photos, he had a good eye.
      The Press photo of Denis speaking at the 1945 Labour Conference, still in uniform, moves me to tears. Denis the war hero knew it was a historic moment. For me the first series of *The Crown* was memorable in its brief portrayal of Clem Atlee: the biography by Frances Beckett is as sharp as one of Denis's photographs.

      There's an excerpt of the third series of *The Crown* on YouTube in which Queen Elizabeth rebukes Mountbatten for almost getting involved in a coup to overthrow Harold Wilson's government. My memory is that Mountbatten wanted NO part in it. The Queen had a good working relationship with Harold Wilson.

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    3. My scrambled egg head again: Francis Beckett wrote the outstanding biography of Clement Atlee.

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  5. Corbyn's mistake was trying to push back and say it wasn't that bad (in effect). He should have simply expressed zero tolerance for anti-semitism. Period.

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    1. You may well be right Steve but what I would like to know is what was the "it" in question?

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  6. Jeremy could be called anti Zionist or anti Israel but not anti semitic. Witch hunts achieve very little. It's the Tories they should be fighting.

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    1. The Tories led by Worzel Gummidge will be sniggering into their dry sherries and stirrup cups as I write,

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  7. Well on the same page as you. Politics are nasty of course, but feel sorry for Corbyn, kicked about by the journalists during his leadership, he was also ground down by the Conservative mob. Starmer should be ashamed of what he did.

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    1. There doesn't seem to have been much foresight with regard to Mr Corbyn's suspension.

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  8. Personally I have never liked Corbyn. I wouldn't trust a word he says. He cost the Labout Party their chance to win the election and Labour will do far better without him.

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    1. Labour is the biggest political party in Europe - in terms of membership. A lot of that is down to Jeremy Corbyn. He is not an anti-semite - that is very clear. Can you tell me what he did that was so very wrong?

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    2. What Jeremy did wrong: failing to deal with organised anti-Semitic bullies in the Party; letting in Trots to swell numbers so he could make speeches up and down the country; losing the election; misreading the mood of the English people; dithering over Europe; basking in the glow of his young admirers; playing student politics; playing into the hands of the Tories.

      Remember what Boris said of the Corbynites during the election? *It's just the London Labour Party.*
      Having a big party membership doesn't cut it in post-Brexit England, Neil. Neither of us wants another 10 years of right-wing Tory rule. Tonight Boris sleeps less easily in his bed after learning that Keir Starmer acted decisively in suspending Jeremy. This isn't Isaac sacrificing his son, it's about an effective leader letting go of a major liability. Ruthless? Sure. Winning the next election is everything. Jeremy's feelings don't matter.

      As for international politics, that is for another day, Neil. We can talk about the Palestinians and about Ilan Pappe's book *The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine* if you want. Labour needs a united front and a realistic manifesto to stop the ruin of our country and the increasing likelihood of Scottish independence.
      If Scotland breaks away I'm breaking away to Sheffield.

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    3. P.S. It was was Abraham who was prepared to sacrifice Isaac, but then the roles are reversed here, with the younger man, Keir, sacrificing elderly Jeremy, who is undoubtedly yesterday's man. *What shades we are, what shades we become !*

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    4. I agree. For me, his unforgivable failure was not making clear to working people up and down this country how bad Brexit would be for them. He simply failed to lead, because he himself has misguided ideas about Brexit and Europe. And working people are going to pay the price.

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    5. Both of you are straying into other zones. I simply want to know what these alleged anti-semitic "crimes" are all about. What exactly was said or done? Nobody seems to know.

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    6. There are some details in this Wikipedia article (and in the source documents cited):

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_UK_Labour_Party

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  9. Moving away from (biblical) filicide and (political) patricide, here is a happy memory from YouTube:

    *Not appropriate: Boris Johnson recites Kipling poem in Myanmar temple.*
    September 30, 2017. Guardian News.

    Boris's mis-timing is in its own way a clever kind of timing. Music hall comedians could make their fans laugh in a way you couldn't quite define.
    As for Mr. Kipling, TS Eliot said: *He is the most complete man of genius I have ever known.*

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    1. And that was before he started making "exceedingly nice cakes".

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  10. I would need to be a daily follower of English politics to have a proper understanding of the matter and I am not. But I never saw Corbyn as a winner in an election. For better or worse, there has to be some charisma and he had none. A friend met him a couple of times and said he was a thoroughly decent and nice person.
    As for mentioning the I word, everyone needs to including all political parties as they ought to about any country and how its citizens are treated. I might check later if that 21% of non Jewish in Israel has about that amount of representation in the Kismet. I will guess not.

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    1. You didn't see him as a "winner" in an election. As I said earlier, on another blog: Not everyone is a Kennedy charming the socks off birds in the tree.

      What does the electorate want? Someone with their interests at heart or a lot of hot air, bluster and empty promises? To avoid any misunderstanding: I have no allegiances to any party. I just live here, with no right to vote. Which, to some extent, makes me a nonentity. A bit like chalk wiped off the blackboard. Though, naturally, I still have to live with the consequences of any election result.

      U

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  11. My late father (1915-2000) who voted Labour all his life (apart from two occasions when he voted for the Green Party) used to say it was more interesting in many ways to read (or watch) about the Conservative Party. Some YouTube vids on Boris I have just watched ...

    *Boris Johnson: The boy who wanted to be world king.* BBC News. July 14, 2019.
    Watch out for a comment from Lord (Peter) Hennessy the social historian.

    *Prime Minister Boris Johnson traces his family history/Who Do You Think You Are?*
    July 13, 2018. BBC. One of the popular long-running series on ancestry.

    *Gaffes and Glory: Boris Johnson abroad.* BBC News. July 14, 2016.

    These two men, Boris and Keir, will be the centre of British politics in the next 12 long months.
    Strangely or not so strangely, many women in Scotland cannot abide Nicola Sturgeon.

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    1. Unlike your father, I have never made a single slip up - always voting Labour like my mother before me (1921-2007).

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    2. My father, who left school at 14 for work, never took himself too seriously. He voted Green because he was disillusioned by Labour, especially at a local level, where corruption was widespread. *I'll give the Greens a chance,* he said.
      One of his favourite writers was Fitzroy Maclean, a Tory.

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  12. Some how the internet platforms have to be eliminated or controlled so that we don't have trolls and what ever else making mischief.

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    1. Those mischief makers have caused hurt and division in so many areas of life.

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  13. I know nothing about English politics, other than the fact the Boris Johnson is considered a buffoon by many people.

    I took comparative religion in University and I came to the conclusion that either all religions are right or all religions are wrong. But religion is separate from the soul and from the divine, which exists in all of us.

    Human beings have such a hard time letting each other to their own beliefs, probably because we so often want the beliefs of others to be the same as ours.

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    1. As a lifelong atheist, I have trouble relating to the sensitivities of the various religions I encounter or read about. As John Lennon sang:
      Imagine there's no countries
      It isn't hard to do
      Nothing to kill or die for
      And no religion, too

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    2. No one expects you to *relate* to religion, Neil. Only Muslims are sensitive. Christians know they are a joke, and don't complain.

      Ours is a post-Christian society. Os Guinness said we live in a cut-flower civilization: the beautiful little churches and great cathedrals are there, but nobody cares. The burning of Notre Dame was symbolic of the West's spiritual decline: faith is now counter cultural, and John Lennon's counter-culture is now the establishment. The pope is an old hippy like you and Lennon; in Ireland the occult has returned to fill the vacuum after the collapse of belief.

      Try talking to a secular Scot about the faith of Saint Columba of Iona. Try talking to an Englishman about Saint Augustine and his forty monks landing in Thanet. The faith which created Western civilization, without which John Lennon could not have written his song, is dead. No need to kick the corpse.

      Read *Dominion* by Tom Holland (now in paperback) and reflect on how much we owe to Christianity, and why it was such a threat to pagan Rome, where most people had no value, far less an eternal soul.

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    3. I meant to write: *where most people had no value in the eyes of the Roman ruling class*.
      When John Wesley preached in the north of England he told poor people that they mattered greatly in God's eyes.

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    4. "Only Muslims are sensitive". Eh? What about the apparent climate of anti-semitism that led to Mr Corbyn's suspension? That had nothing to do with Muslims.

      We used to dunk witches in village ponds. We used to believe quite literally that Jesus walked on water and we used to believe that The Earth was flat. All religions are built on wobbly ground like fairytales. It's surprising that you still seem to cling to religion like a lifebelt. Why not learn to swim?

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  14. Christian socialists made a huge contribution to the Labour movement. Think of non-conformism in the North of England, or Catholicism in Irish-immigrant Liverpool. Those days are long gone. Luciana Berger's bullies were hard Left Marxists.

    Persecution of witches, about which Hugh Trevor Roper wrote a book, is a grim chapter in Christian history. It was not as widespread as you imagine. There is a theory that the persecution of old women, who practised herbalism, was a smokescreen: The witchfinders sexually abused young women. They were evil men.

    Persecution in totalitarian societies (Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, Pol Pot's killing fields, communist Korea) was far more brutal, with millions of victims. Svetlana Stalin said her father and his henchmen expressed their contempt for supernatural faith in the same glib terms as you do, Neil.

    A lifebelt can come in handy. All around me I see people drowning in a sea of alcohol, drugs, violence and family breakdown.
    Boris told his ex she could not expect him to be faithful. What kind of an example is that to a young guy in a sink housing estate?

    When the *fairytale* of Christianity goes, it takes everything of value with it.

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    1. Decency and a healthy moral perspective do not require controlling medieval tales of yore written by monks. Religions of all hues have caused far more death and division than they have prevented. Religion is not glue. It's paint stripper.

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  15. Paint stripper? Is that what John Wesley was preaching? Is that what Wesley was doing when he warned the decadent rich that they would have to stand before the Judgment Throne and answer for their conduct?
    You are a decent man, Neil, and those values you hold dear owe everything to Judaeo-Christianity. Yet you are determined to speak like Stalin's henchman Beria, who would have cackled at the words paint stripper.

    *The True God and the True Gospel - David Pawson.* YouTube. August 21, 2018.
    Mr Pawson said Christian values of decency survive for a few generations, then vanish. Boris is an example of it.

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  16. all of this verbiage and still the question is not answered.

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  17. Gertrude Stein, dying, asked her friend Alice B Toklas:
    *Alice, Alice, what is the answer?*

    Alice replied, *There is no answer, Gertrude.*
    To which Gertrude replied, *Well, then, what is the question?*

    With those words Gertrude breathed her last.
    No more verbiage, Linda Sue.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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